Solar associations in the Gulf and India have struck a deal that will see the two regions offer mutual support to their PV industries through the sharing of expertise and resources.

The Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA), the Solar Gulf Cooperation Council Alliance (SGCC) and the National Solar Energy Federation India (NSEFI) agreed earlier this month to collaborate on solar energy initiatives.

SGCC and SASIA are seeking engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) assistance from India, to build solar projects in Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Oman and Bahrain.

The group of international solar associations are also to collaborate on technical and commercial initiatives, working together to promote the members of NSEFI, SGCC and SASIA to each other.

The agreement also includes solar manufacturing support from SGCC nations to NSEFI – to aid India’s domestic manufacturing, and improve technology, finance, training and entrepreneurship in both the regions, through joint ventures, benefitting both India and GCC countries.

The agreement was decided by Pranav Mehta, chairman of NSEFI who met with SGCCA and Browning Rockwell, the executive director for SASIA, on 9 April in New Delhi.

SASIA created the SGCC this January to promote the vast potential of solar energy of the Gulf region and support nascent solar industries in member countries.

It is hoped the partnership will award India the support needed in boosting its domestic solar industry, as well as aiding the GCC oil rich countries to utilise their abundant renewable solar energy resources.

India’s domestic industry is currently under immense time and financial pressure, NSEFI warned the Indian government last month. NSEFI asked for changes to help India’s struggling domestic solar industry

Meanwhile, the governments of Gulf nations have in recent years expressed a need for energy diversification as oil is worth more to the economy exported than it is used at home.

President of the Middle East Solar Industry Association, Vahid Fotuhi, said last month that Saudi Arabia would put 700-1000MW of solar power out to tender by the end of the year. Saudi Arabia is also considering spending billions on solar manufacturing facilities.

Solar has already been used by the world’s largest oil producer, responsible for around one in eight barrels of oil produced globally, Aramco.

Aramco’s KASPARCH research and development centre is home to Saudi Arabia’s largest ground-mount solar installation. Aramco’s offices in Saudi Arabia also uses solar energy.

The associations also said they hope the collaboration will help to empower efforts to curtail anthropogenic climate change both locally, and across regions internationally.

The associations also hope to join forces at various industry conferences across 2015.